By SHELLEY TERRY
City Council decided Monday to extend the free leaf bag pickup period for four weeks, through May 31.
In the wake of the unseasonably cold, wet month of April, the city decided to extend the service to residents.
Normally, with the exception of November and April, leaf and compost bags in Ashtabula are no longer picked up by city workers without a special sticker.
“We will go on free through May,” said Vice President Chris McClure, who also chairs council’s public works committee. “We are also looking at more effective ways to dispose of the bags.”
City officials hope residents will bag the leaves and grass clippings rather than blowing them into the streets, which then plugs up the sewers.
City Council passed an ordinance in June 2009 requiring stickers on bags 10 months of the year. The city charges a 25-cents-per-bag fee for collection and disposal of leaf and compost bags. Residents have to buy the stickers and put them on each bag if they want the city to pick them up. The stickers are on sale at the City Hall and the Sanitation Department on West 24th Street.
Here’s the city’s guidelines for the bags:
n Leaf/compost bags filled with dirt will not be picked up.
n Large piles of brush or branches should be bundled no longer than three feet and no more than 20 pounds.
In other business at Monday’s City Council meeting:
n Council passed a resolution in support of Issue 1, renewal of the Ohio Public Works Commission funding on today’s ballot.
n City Manager Jim Timonere said the city was paying $8,500 a year for insurance on the police department’s boat for Homeland Security. He found a new policy where the city only has to pay $3,000 a year.
n City Council and the viewing audience enjoyed listening to the meeting via the new, clearer sound system.
n Timonere asked council for an ordinance to dispose of certain pieces of equipment in the Ashtabula Fire Department deemed obsolete/junk, including two chairs, a rowing machine, a filing cabinet, and more.
n The city manager’s city-wide paving project is expected to start in late June or early July.